Trade Prospecting: Did The Blue Jays Get More Than Salary Relief For Martin?

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When the Blue Jays traded Russell Martin it would’ve been easy to expect them to get nothing back but some salary relief.  However it appears that they were willing to eat enough money to get at least an intriguing prospect back in the deal.  Let’s take a look:

Ronny Brito – Shortstop
Brito received a $2 million bonus as an international free agent in 2015, though a broken leg in 2017 has helped to limit the now 19-year old (he’ll turn 20 in March) to 557 career AB.  He’s also yet to advance past Rookie Ball, though he did hit .295 with 11 HR and 55 RBI in 61 games in 2018.

There is question regarding his ability to make consistent contact, including a 20.1% SwStr% last season, though it’s still possible that he can take a step forward with his approach given his age and relative lack of experience.  There’s upside in the bat if he can, as Baseball America describes him by saying:

Brito shows rare opposite-field power for a teenager, ambushing fastballs with a steep, uphill swing. He’s an aggressive free-swinger who doesn’t adjust with two strikes, resulting in plenty of strikeouts, but he makes impact contact when he connects. He is still working to improve his secondary pitch recognition and strike zone management.

Obviously there’s a lot of risk, but with the power potential if the Blue Jays can get him to adjust (even a little bit) he could prove to be a tremendous value.

Current Grade – C

Andrew Sopko – Right-Handed Pitcher
Sopko appears to be nothing more than a throw in piece, though one who could factor into Toronto’s bullpen this season.  He saw time at Double-A for the third straight season, this time pitching to a 3.88 ERA with 48 K and 13 BB over 53.1 IP. 

He is also already 24, took three turns through the level to figure something out and has mediocre stuff according to Baseball America:

He sits 92-93 mph and stands out more for his pitchability than his pure stuff, hitting his spots and mixing in a slider and changeup to keep hitters off balance. None of Sopko’s offerings are truly plus, but he throws strikes and mixes his pitches enough for evaluators to see him contributing in the majors in some form. 

There isn’t much to see here.

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball America

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